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Michael Swan in his book Practical English Usage (page 1) writes:

Some styles of writing and speech have their own grammatical rules, often because of the need to save space and time.

Informal notes, diary entries etc follow similar rules:

1) Gone to hairdresser. Back 12:30   

2) Book tickets

Phone Ann

See Joe 11:00

Meeting Sue lunch

The same style may be used in postcards and short informal letters:

Dear Gran

Watching tennis on TV. A good book. Three meals a day. No washing-up. Clean sheets every day.Everything done for me. Yes, you've guessed - in hospital.

Only went to doctor for cold - landed up in hospital with pneumonia!! If you have time please tell the others - would kove some letters to cher me up.

Hope to see you.

Love, Pam

I am trying to decipher all of the above:

I have gone to a hairdresser. I will be back at 12:30

I have to book tickets

I have to phone Ann

I have to see Joe 11:00

I have to meet Sue at lunch

Dear Gran

I am watching tennis on TV. I am reading a good book. I have three meals a day. I have no washing-up. I am getting clean sheets every day. I am getting everything done for me. Yes, you've guessed - I am in a hospital.

I only used to go to a doctor for a cold but now I have landed up in th hospital with a pneumonia!! If you have time. please. tell the others - I would love to get some letters to cheer me up.

Hope to see you.

Love, Pam.

Have I written the short sentences full right?

1 Answer 1

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I have gone to the hairdresser. I will be back at 12:30.

The four reminders might be written,

Remember to book tickets

Remember to phone Ann

Remember to see Joe at 11:00

Remember to meet Sue for lunch

(The last one might mean, "Remember there's a meeting with Sue at lunchtime.")

If you are allowed to use longer sentences, the first paragraph of the letter would be less repetitive.

I am watching tennis on TV and I'm reading a good book. I have three meals a day with no washing-up to do, and I get clean sheets every day. Everything is being done for me. Yes, you've guessed - I am in hospital.

I only went to the doctor because I had a cold, but I landed up in hospital with pneumonia!! If you have time, please tell the others. I would love to get some letters to cheer me up.

Hoping to see you.

Love,

Pam

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  • 1) Why "the hairdresser"? Maybe the person has gone to a new one whom he doesn't know yet. 2) Why not "getting clean sheets every day"? Isn't it an action that is going on during this temporal period which should be described with Present Continuous, not Present Simple? 3) Why "hospital" with no article? I heard "in the hospital" = "a patient", "at the hospital" = "merely at the place of the hospital". 4) Why "hoping" but not "hope"? Jun 26, 2020 at 18:10
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    Concerning 1) and 3) see english.stackexchange.com/questions/19604/…. 2) See english.stackexchange.com/questions/297422/… 4) The original it is rather vague. Does the writer hope Gran will visit her in hospital, or does she hope to see her sometime? Either way it is not colloquial. It is conventional to end a letter with something like, "Wishing you all the best" or "Thinking of you", Implying (but omitting) "I am". Jun 26, 2020 at 19:30

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